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Friday, November 2, 2012

Election Advice 101

It is almost election time in the United States.  The next President will be selected in just a matter of a few days.  The course of the next four years is held in the hands of those who will make their ways to the polling places, casting their ballot for their "favorite" candidate.  Note, I did not say the "best" candidate, but their "favorite" candidate.  After all, isn't this what the debates, campaign speeches, and advertisements have been devised to produce?  They were all put together in such a way so as to "sway" the voters to choose either one or the other - plain and simple.  I have heard many say, "Well, I guess we will just choose the lesser of two evils."  Nothing is sadder than having to choose a candidate who comes "close" to your beliefs, sort of close to the way you'd vote on issues, and marginally "inside" the values you adhere to as your own.  Yet, in many cases, we don't get the choice of the "ideal" vs. the "imperfect".  We get a little bit of "ideal" AND "imperfect" in each candidate - forcing a choice which is the lesser of the two "imperfects"!

When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it—but it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out.  (Proverbs 28:2 MSG)

I daresay, the country is in a state of chaos, especially in this election year.  The stock market is up and down.  The critics on one side blame the other.  The political arena is filled with all kinds of finger-pointing.  I cannot say I won't be glad to have the elections over with!  The campaign ads invade every moment of commercial space possible.  The campaign offices ring the house at all hours with the hopes to either raise funds, or to secure your votes.  Frankly, I think we go a bit overboard, causing a whole lot of hype about each candidate which really only serves to cloud the issues.  In looking at scripture, we can plainly see countries in chaos are NEVER without those who will promise a "fix" for the issues.

In retrospect, we can see how campaigns have evolved over the generations.  We've moved from neighborhood campaign headquarters and lots of hand-shaking into the realm of the social media and the instant messaging phenomena.  Has anyone else noticed how much "stuff" is invading your Facebook page, your snail mail, and your Twitter account?  Okay, so you may wonder why I am taking this time to speak of all this in my blog today.  Plain and simple - I don't want us to be swayed by the "fix" promised, but to be committed to pray for the candidates God desires at the helm for the next four years - both locally and nationally!

We definitely need leaders of "real understanding" to guide us.  These leaders don't find their way into office by accident.  Remember what happened with Israel back in the time when the nation was just starting up?  You only need to turn to I Samuel 8 to see the dialogue between the members of the nation and Samuel.  Their plea:  "Give us a king to lead us!"  The very next words state, "....such as all the nations have."  I don't know about you, but I don't want a leader "such as all the nations have".  I want a leader such as God would appoint!

No amount of "explanation" from the mouth of Samuel (a great prophet) could change the minds of the people.  He tried and tried to explain what a "leader like all the other nations" would produce, but they "refused to listen".  We can be pretty determined when we put our minds to it, can't we?  We see only one side of the issue, but we never stop to consider the other.  Samuel explained how a "king like the other nations had" would only result in their sons being taken into the armies and lives lost in battles; the use of the lands for his own gain; and the taxation of their lands.  Yet, they would not be dissuaded. So, what does God do?  He says, "Give them what they want!"

You see, God is not a dictator - he allows us free choice.  He will not violate our will.  Since this is the case, he allows for us to see the choice, then to choose.  It may not be his "will", but it is our choice!  Now, if we want to make the best choices this election year, we will do well to learn from what scripture clearly reveals - no "man" has the "fix" - only God does!  We need to be praying for the leaders to rise up who will connect with God's "fix" and not follow their own plans.  We need leaders of great understanding.  Great understanding is not learned in the classrooms and from the textbooks - it comes by taking the knowledge of the word and applying it to every decision made.  This is wisdom - the application of truth into the practical issues of today.

So, now you've heard my "political" speech.  I will not tell you I endorse one candidate over another.  Nor will I tell you to vote one party or another.  I will say this - God has this in his hands - we just need to give him access to our hands to accomplish what is best for our country.  Just sayin!